Birdsell named Iowa Hospital Association Hospital Hero

Written by Theresa Rose on September 1, 2016

Henry County Health Center Pharmacist Michele Birdsell was recently named a 2016 Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) Hospital Hero. This is a statewide honor, and it is the first time for an HCHC associate to be recognized as an IHA Hospital Hero. In addition, Michele is the first pharmacist to have been selected for this award in the state of Iowa.


To recognize healthcare professionals for their dedication and contribution to community, IHA developed the Iowa Hospital Heroes Award. In order to receive this award, one has to be employed (or recently retired) at an Iowa hospital, has performed a heroic act or tirelessly given their time, talent or expertise to better their organization, patients or community, with measurable results. These everyday heroes are the role models for other hospital employees and the community they serve.  They are people of integrity and honesty whose actions are evidence that they always place others before themselves.


In order to be selected for this prestigious award, all nominees’ applications are reviewed by a panel of judges from other state hospital associations who know nothing of the individual or organization.  Typically, the 10 highest-scoring nominations are chosen for the award and only one award per hospital is given per year.  All recipients will be recognized for the Iowa Hospital Heroes Award at the Iowa Hospital Association’s Annual Meeting in October.


A hero is admired for outstanding achievements and noble qualities. This is true for Pharmacist Michele Birdsell who is a hero both inside the health center and out in the community.


A pharmacist at HCHC since 1996, Birdsell has positively impacted the lives of patients, staff and students for 20 years. Her actions, attitude, and day-to-day concern for our patients are evidence of the passion she has for others. When Birdsell says “my patients” she really means it, it’s not just a mantra.


The impact she makes does not stop with her patients. Birdsell spends a tremendous amount of time, talent and energy as a preceptor for pharmacy students from the University of Iowa and Drake University. In 2011, she was named University of Iowa Hospital Pharmacy Preceptor of the Year. One member of HCHC’s Medical Staff said, “Michele’s critical thinking skills are second to none. She goes above and beyond to pass her knowledge on to others by being a preceptor to pharmacy students and providing education to staff.”


Birdsell has been described by colleagues as a shining example of selflessness, caring and compassion. She does whatever is necessary to ensure that patients receive their needed medication in a timely manner; even when that means responding in the middle of the night, in inclement weather, when she’s not on call.


Outside of HCHC, Birdsell shows her commitment to community by serving on the local Business and Professional Women’s group. Within that organization she mentors young women to become professionals, and supports scholarship efforts. She is also an active participant with the American Cancer Society, and has volunteered for over 10 years with HCHC’s Relay for Life team helping with fundraisers and volunteering at the Relay event.


Maya Angelou once said, “A hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.” This is true of Birdsell as her numerous contributions have made HCHC and the surrounding communities in Henry County a better place for us all.